Amber (Alaina Huffman - Deadly Voltage) is good at her job as a detective even if she does break the rules every now and then in order to get the job done, something which unfortunately lead to her last negotiation going bad. But being a detective and a single mum doesn't always go hand in hand especially when her ex-husband makes life difficult for her by claiming palimony, having given up his career before they got divorced to be a stay at home dad. But Amber finds herself dealing with Calum (Kyle Mac - My Daughter Must Live), a young man desperate for money to pay for his mum's medical care and to do so has taken a bus full of children hostage.
On paper I would have thought a movie about a hostage negotiator trying to negotiate a situation involving a troubled young man would have worked as a TV movie. I say that because this sort of movie doesn't call for expensive sets or lots of big action scenes but actors and a director who can bring to life the tension of the situation. Sadly when it comes to the 2016 TV movie "Amber Alert" it doesn't manage to achieve it and when the tension is what the movie should be about the end result is a movie which never quite gets you in its grip.
And to be honest it is a shame as whilst "Amber Alert" is not the most original of movies; the whole negotiator with personal issues dealing with a trigger happy SWAT commander and also a young man desperate to save his mum has been done in a variety of other movies, it still has some nice ideas. The whole set up of Calum having borderline personality disorder combined with being a tech whiz kid allows for just the right amount of action without calling for big budget effects. Plus whilst it doesn't truly bring to life the situation it does deliver some of the tension and you can see where the movie could have gone especially with Amber's ex husband pushing for custody and using her job against her.
Unfortunately "Amber Alert" also suffers from many of the typical issues you get from a made for TV movie such as the sort of dialogue that every day people just wouldn't say. But the worst thing is that pretty much every actor over acts their part from forcing out lines as if they were barking like a dog to delivering stare downs for no reason what so ever.
What this all boils down to is that "Amber Alert" has some good ideas even if they are not always original. But it suffers from a list of issues most notably the acting which is constantly over the top.